Climate, the Little Ice Age, and Ottoman History
Fri, February 21, 2014 • 3:00 PM • MEZ B0.306
The Turkish Ottoman Lecture Series presents Sam White Ph.D.
Current global warming poses important but difficult questions for historians: How has climate changed, and what has is meant for previous societies? Can we gain insights about climate change vulnerabilities, adaptation, and resilience from the past? Fortunately, current climatology also offers new ways to reconstruct the weather and climate of previous centuries, offering a powerful tool for historians. This talk will explore the state of the field and prospects for a climate history of the Ottoman Empire. Starting with the author’s work on drought, rebellion, and political crisis of the late 16th and 17th centuries, it will consider new historical research on the topic, as well as new findings from climatology and their possible implications for the history of the Ottoman Empire and beyond.
Sam White earned his M.A. in Middle East Studies and Modern History from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) in 2002 and his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 2008. He was asst. prof. of environmental history at Oberlin College for five years before joining the history department at OSU in 2013. Prof. White has taught in many areas of environmental history including both global and American surveys as well as "big history" and topical courses on food, animals, and climate. His research focuses on past climate changes and extreme weather, combining scientific data and historical sources to better reconstruct these episodes and understand their influence on human history. His first book, The Climate of Rebellion in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2011), explores the far-reaching effects of severe cold and drought in the Middle East during the "Little Ice Age" of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It won the Middle East Studies Association Albert Hourani award, the Turkish Studies Association Fuat Köprülü award, and the British-Kuwaiti Friendship Society prize for the best book in Middle East and Turkish studies.